For the USC and Exposition Park neighborhoods in Los Angeles
Between 300 to 400 5th grade students will participate in the three project components Friday, April 15, from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m:
1) Develop a class health/science related project, display and/or exhibit.
2) Participate in the one-day Science Fair competition between classes at the USC HSC quad
3) Participate in a topic-related essay contest in the weeks following the Science Fair
The USC Health and Science Expo is an annual, unique, interactive project that introduces local students in the three elementary HSC Partner Schools to science and health related principles, curriculum, and potential careers. In total over the past ten years, this event has introduced close to 4,000 local 5th-graders to science and health, and over 210 USC students have volunteered over 2,200 hours in facilitating science projects.
The fair culminates in a one-day competition in which students from the three schools will visit the USC HSC and spend a day sharing knowledge, viewing projects and interacting with faculty and staff. Students will present projects to a panel of judges comprised of faculty, staff and community leaders. The daylong activities includes a special entertainment assembly at Bravo High School, and concludes with lunch and an awards ceremony on the HSC Quad. Each student will receive recognition and the classes with the winning projects will receive trophies and a pizza party.
An entire class of 5th graders will develop a health or science related exhibit in partnership with one or more USC students. During visits, the USC students serve as science teachers introducing the 5th grade students to health and science principles, including the scientific method. Together, the USC student and their class will discuss science and/or health, research an idea, conduct an experiment, and create an exhibit that demonstrates new knowledge.
Students in the 5th grade participate in the development of science and health-related projects with volunteer USC students from the Health Sciences Campus (HSC). The students benefit from an introduction to the science field, while gaining an understanding of research and inquiry methods. In addition, they learn about college by interacting with USC students and visiting the Health Sciences Campus, where they present their final projects in all-day Science Fair.
This project seeks to improve the quality of science education that local 5th graders attending the HSC Partner Schools of Griffin, Murchison and Sheridan Elementary Schools currently receive. By collaborating with local teachers and USC student volunteers, hundreds of 5th graders are provided with new creative learning opportunities in the fields of health and science.
The essay contest is an individual assignment designed to spark interest in science and health by encouraging students to use writing and individual thinking skills to communicate ideas about healthy life choices or careers. While the essay contest is not mandatory, teachers use it as an assignment to help the children practice their writing skills. Students will be asked to write about their experience and what they have learned by participating in the Science Fair. Contest winners will be selected at each school and will be awarded the opportunity to travel to Catalina Island and spend a fun-filled, hands-on day of exploration at the USC Wrigley Marine Science Center.
The Science Fair is a great partnership between USC and the local elementary schools because it utilizes one of USC’s main resources – the students – to supplement curriculum at the local schools. The local elementary schools have limited science instruction due to lack of resources and supplies. Because the fair provides everything for this project – instructors, workbooks and supplies – teachers are easily able to integrate the project into the curriculum for their classrooms.
o 13 separate 5th grade classes from Griffin, Murchison and Sheridan elementary schools developing a class science or health project.
o 350 fifth grade students from the three schools are learning new science and health concepts from USC students and learning how to compete in an academic environment.
o 23 USC students volunteered to assist each class and facilitate project development. This includes visiting the same class on at least five separate occasions, and teaching basic science concepts, including the scientific method. USC students also facilitate discussions and work with local teachers in assigning student research roles and assignments.
o More than half of the 350 students will also participate in a voluntary essay contest in which students will write an individual essay and submit their thoughts on healthy lifestyle choices. The purpose of this component is to encourage and strengthen their writing skills.
o USC staff, Pharmacy students, and local community leaders will participate as judges for the science fair projects.
About the three USC HSC Elementary School Partner Schools:
Griffin Avenue Elementary School, located in the Lincoln Heights neighborhood, serves 700 K-5 students. In 2005, Griffin was recognized as a “California Distinguished School.”
Murchison Street Elementary School, located in the Ramona Gardens area of Northeast Boyle Heights, serves over 800 K-5 students.
Sheridan Street Elementary School is located in Boyle Heights with 1,200 students.